Could Your Seasonal Allergies Actually Be Acid Reflux?

People with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often suffer recurrent chest distress and commonly experience asthma symptoms. The food allergy and acid reflux link has been made clear in several studies. One such study was reviewed in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1999. Researchers consulted mothers whose infants had colic-type behavior that included vomiting. Some of the babies in the study failed to respond to reflux medication and multiple formula changes. However, the gastroesophageal reflux symptoms resolved when the infants changed formula and were given an elemental amino acid-based formula. In two-thirds of the patients in the study, the reflux symptoms returned when the babies were put back on a soy formula or hydrolyzed formula. The researchers attributed food protein intolerance to the infants’ acid reflux symptoms.

So what should you do if you think your symptoms are silent reflux and not autumn allergies or a cold after all? Start with a two-week elimination diet, Dr. Koufman suggests. That means no alcohol, nothing from a can (yep, including seltzer), and cutting way back on dairy and coffee. You should also stick to low-fat, low-acidic foods, and you might want to avoid spicy or fried foods , which are also thought to trigger reflux. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and garlic may also spark reflux symptoms, so eat them sparingly.

Food intolerances take several months to figure out. The only way I know of is to start writing everything down on a calendar or notebook. After 6 years, I’m still finding new foods to avoid – mainly anything processed at all. If I cook for myself, don’t even eat processed breakfast cereal (not counting oatmeal see this website or plain rice cereal with no additives), I am fine. My GI doc had no idea. This all came from my allergist. The only thing my Nexium did was to make the refluxate non-acid. The trigger for the stomach to heave it up is nearly all food or irritating things going on in my esophagus, stomach or gut.

Yes, some people do have a problem with peppermint. Some swear by it though, like my grandmother. I guess it depends on what’s causing your reflux in the first place. I have no opinion either way. Tiny tweaks to your regular routine that can help quell silent reflux, just as they can ease other types of the condition. Try not to eat or drink anything too close to bedtime (finish up three hours before you go to sleep, recommends Dr. Koufman). Prop your pillow up when you do hit the hay; sleeping on an incline can help keep stomach acids where they belong.

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